100 Favorite Dishes, Gathered Up and Google Mapped

View 100 Favorite Dishes: The 2011 Edition in a larger map

Now that it's been a little over a week since we wrapped up this year's list of our 100 Favorite Dishes, you've hopefully had a chance to digest some of the dishes on the map -- and I mean that both literally and figuratively. I know at least a few people who are working their way through the list, and that warms the butter-encrusted cockles of my heart. To assist in this task, I created the map above of all 100 dishes.

After the map was finished, I thought it would also be fun to compare it with last year's map of the 100 Favorite Dishes list from Robb Walsh and contrast the differences.

View Robb Walsh's Top 100 Houston Dishes, Houston Press in a larger map

The 2011 map went farther south -- all the way down to Casey's in Galveston -- while the 2010 map went farther north. The farthest east that the 2010 map reached was to the Bar-B-Que Done Right trailer, while the 2011 map made it out to Karanchos in Channelview. And the Pearland/South Houston areas still stand out on both maps as an oasis of great food in the southern suburbs.

But the most marked differences are more notable when zoomed in to focus on the parts of Houston that lie within the Beltway.

View 100 Favorite Dishes: The 2011 Edition in a larger map

In 2011, new Chinatown stands out more than ever as a strong food corridor in the city, drawing restaurants with cheap rent and drawing diners with inexpensive and -- just as often -- hard-to-find food. Downtown and the Heights are also well-represented in this year's map. Both areas have actively courted restaurants over the past year, and the effort shows.

View Robb Walsh's Top 100 Houston Dishes, Houston Press in a larger map

In 2010, however, only one downtown restaurant made it onto the list, while the Galleria area was much more saturated with Favorite Dishes. Could it be that the allure of the glitzy Galleria has faded in the last year along with rising rents and a gasping economy?

What geographic issues -- if any -- stand out to you? Other than the glaring fact that I clearly need to do some more exploring on the East and South sides of Houston in the next 12 months?

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